Monthly Archives: January 2019

Sticking to it

Sticking to this week’s menu, my early-afternoon meal today was homemade cream of mushroom soup (using the recipe from The Joy of Cooking), with a spring greens salad and homemade vinaigrette, and a slab of homemade sourdough and some Irish butter.

“Yum and happy-tummy” doesn’t begin to state my sated state….

I bought chives the other day. First time in my life, since I always just use green onions. But I need to use up the chives. Thus, the garnish. I’m going to chop and dry the rest of them, I think.

Michel Legrand

Michel Legrand, one of my favorite composers, has died.

From the New York Times article, some sage advice for all of us:

On the occasion of a 2010 concert at Olympia Hall in Paris, Mr. Legrand was asked by French radio whether any of his dreams had gone unfulfilled.

“Off the top of my head,” he said, “I regret that I didn’t learn more languages, visit certain countries and listen to music that I don’t yet know about. In other words, there’s a whole cultural process that it’s been difficult for me to undertake because I’ve written a lot, worked, traveled, played around. So I haven’t had time to read some of the extraordinary books that I still think about.”

Legrand’s comments are a reminder for the rest of my own days.








AKA potstickers.  GyozaJiaozi.  饺子.

Whatever you call them, the homemade ones I put together Sunday morning, a portion of which I cooked Sunday evening, are the best.

I know that some restaurants may serve jiaozi that are just as good, but something about making these from scratch at home makes them even more enjoyable.

I only ate eight of them, but could have eaten my weight!  (I froze the remaining 32, and will get four more meals from my homemade potstickers.)

From start to finish:

Scallions at the ready.
Ground pork, some sherry, some ginger, some white pepper, some soy sauce, a bit of sugar, corn starch, the scallions.
And the pork mixture is done.
My pleating improved as I learned the technique. Top left is among the first I made, and the lower right is near the last of the assembly line.
Eight potstickers for dinner. Cooked in a cast iron skillet, of course.
The finished product.
And a Xi’an cucumber salad. The dressing is soy sauce, dark rice vinegar, sesame oil, chili oil, sugar, salt. It burns the lips. And the garnish is roasted peanuts and some toasted sesame seeds.


On Wednesday last week, I attended a sourdough bread class at Kitchen Conservatory. And I came home with a bit of starter.

By Friday morning, after feeding the starter a third time, the sour, fermenting liquid was ready to become bread.

And so it was that my journey began.

I spent a good chunk of Friday mixing, resting, pulling, resting, and finally shaping what would become two loaves of bread.

Knowing I would not have time on Friday evening to bake them, I chose to let them have their final rise in the fridge, and I baked them on Saturday morning.

Comparing the photos of these to the ones from class, and also comparing the taste and consistency, I realize that I underbaked these by about five minutes. But for a first attempt, I’m not too awfully unhappy!

I already have Tuesday time blocked out to work on two more loaves!

By the way, the loaf with the more elaborate scoring went nearly immediately to Elizabeth and James and Olivette, my next-door neighbors. The gifting of bread has started.

This week’s menu

I’m going to try something new — namely, posting my weekly menu in hopes of holding myself to good and wholesome home cooking, and planning a bit better than I have been during my sabbatical.

And I made homemade sourdough bread on Friday afternoon, so that needs to eaten up.  And there are mushrooms in the fridge calling my name.

So . . . .

Yesterday (Saturday), January 26
Chicken Marsala (from Cooking for Two, p. 105)
Buttered peas
Homemade sourdough bread

Sunday, January 27
Bacon/eggs for breakfast, with sourdough toast
Salad at lunch before Circus Harmony
Homemade pot-stickers at dinner, plus a Xi’an cucumber salad

Monday, January 28
Sourdough French toast for breakfast
Leftover Chicken Marsala at lunch
Leftover pulled pork at dinner

Tuesday, January 29
Bacon/eggs at breakfast
Cheese souflé (from Baking for Two, p. 216) at lunch, plus a salad
Leftover pulled pork at dinner, plus fruit

Wednesday, January 30
Grits and fruit at breakfast
Lunch with an alumna
Loaded baked potato and salad at dinner

Thursday, January 31 (celebrating Yufei’s return to the USA)
Sunny-side Up Tarts (from Baking for Two, p. 194) at breakfast
More pot-stickers at lunch
Homemade cream of mushroom soup at dinner, plus sourdough and a salad

Friday, February 1
Leftover Sunny-side Up Tarts at breakfast, plus fruit
More soup etc. at lunch
Ham steak, cheese grits, peas at dinner

Saturday, February 2
Breakfast sandwich on sourdough
Quick take-away or frozen prepared lunch, since I’ll be at school and then teaching lessons
Dinner gig, so I’m fed there

Now, the shopping list:

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • dry Sherry
  • Marsala wine
  • cream
  • more salad fixings
  • round wonton wrappers
  • English cucumber
  • chili oil
  • Chinkiang vinegar
  • sesame seeds
  • roasted unsalted peanuts
  • tonic water (not for any recipe I’ve included above)
  • elderflower cordial (because I love it with fizzy water)

An update:

Saturday dinner.
Sunday breakfast.
One of the two sourdough loaves. Next time they get 10 more minutes in the oven.